WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
An Alabama News Network Exclusive on what's being called the worst case of animal cruelty ever uncovered in Butler County. A man is under arrest accused of leaving a dog starving and dehydrated in his back yard.
A pitbull, who was about half his normal weight, was here at the Butler County Animal Shelter, just hours ago fighting for his life. Veterinarians say he was completely emaciated, so unhealthy he had to be put down less than an hour after he was seen.
Butler County deputies say he's a pitbull without a name and found in a pen... possibly going without water or food for weeks, even months. At the time, he was still alive.
"The canine was in the pen there and the dog stood up and took a couple of steps and just fell over. He got closer to the pen and saw the condition of the dog," Said Butler County Sheriff, Kenny Harden.
Deputies then brought the dog to Doctor Tina Hayes, a veterinarian with Clay Hill Animal Clinic. We asked Hayes if this was one of the worst cases she's ever seen.
"It is the worst," Said Hayes. She says the Pitbull should've weighed about 40 lbs. She speculates it weighed about 20 lbs. She says the dog was so weak, she examined it on the animal control truck.
"His nails were overgrown. That gives you an idea that there hasn't been a lot of walking around in pretty poor conditions," Said Hayes.
They're conditions Harden says were found at Michael Bell's home. Now, he's been charged with cruelty to animals.
Dr. Hayes says she scales animals' health between a one and a ten -- ten being severely obese...
"[And] one being very emaciated and thin and no muscle mass -- and this dog was a one," Said Hayes.
He was so unhealthy, she says he had no hope for survival, which meant he had to be put down.
"Skin wrapped on top bone because all of the muscle mass is gone. When there is not appropitate nutrition, the body starts breaking down fat first and then start breaking down muscle after that," Said Hayes.
Hayes, Butler County deputies and animal control officers say this was the worst case of animal cruelty they've ever seen.
Veterinarians say he was a puppy between six months and a year old.
If you know of animal cruelty, you're asked to call your local law enforcement agency.